The high October rainfalls have resulted in soils reaching field capacity in areas of the North Island, Nelson, Marlborough, and Kaikoura. For many areas this was a significant improvement from the drought-like conditions of late September.
Canterbury soil moisture levels also improved during October, while in some parts of Otago, particularly inland, and in coastal areas north of Dunedin, rainfall barely kept up with evapotranspiration demand.
Southland soils had about average moisture levels for this time of year.
Soil moisture deficit in the pasture root zone at the end of October (right) compared with the deficit at the same time last year (centre) and the long term end of October average (left). The analysis is done for an average soil type where the available water capacity is taken to be 150 mm.